Mad Music Monday is a bi-weekly music column, written by Courtney Caldwell. Got an album you’d like to see reviewed? Let us know!
UPDATE (10/5/2015): I had previously credited all the production and instrumentation to Sven Britt, when Cat Martino should also be credited for instrumentation and production. Martino is also a multi-instrumentalist and deserves credit for all the awesome aspects of this album! I have corrected my mistake below.
2015 has been an illustrious year for indie female vocalists: Sleater-Kinney, Purity Ring, Courtney Barnett, and many more have all released albums that will contend for a spot on your end-of-year list. With so much great music coming from the big female names in indie pop/rock, some lesser-knowns are falling to the wayside.
Until earlier this year I was completely unaware of Stranger Cat, a project headed by Brooklyn-based vocalist Cat Martino. Stranger Cat’s debut album, In the Wilderness, caught my eye on a vinyl blog I follow (Of course it did. Look at that rainbow splatter. GAZE UPON ITS BEAUTY). After reading that Martino was a Sufjan Stevens cohort (and having worked with many other notable musicians), I was hooked. When a record looks that good and is so closely associated with Sufjan Stevens, you just buy it.
As far as impulse vinyl purchases go (and my list is long, trust me), Stranger Cat is definitely one for the “win” column. Part glitch-pop, part trip-hop, and all emotion, the album’s ethereal anthems show off Martino’s impressive range. The backing instrumentation for the album, played in part by Martino and in part by fellow multi-instrumentalist Sven Britt, balances minimalism with drama – it never overpowers Martino’s vocals, only complements them.
In the Wilderness, born out of the turbulence of a post-breakup depression and recurrence of a neuromuscular disease, was released this April. But summer is for Speedy Ortiz and Grouplove, not soulful reflection in the Sierra Nevadas. As cooler temperatures begin creeping in, it’s time for a little fall melancholy and rumination. Why not let Stranger Cat take you there?
Featured Image by Courtney Caldwell